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Hamilton pool closed for emergency repairs

Published: Friday, January 17, 2014

Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 02:01

pool

Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily


Hamilton Pool, the training facility for hundreds of Tufts swimmers and community members, will remain closed until at least mid-March due to concerns about the pool’s structural integrity.

According to Matt Malone, the manager of Facilities, Fields and Game Management, problems with the pool were first discovered during winter break.

“[Facilities staff] drained the pool for general maintenance over winter break and found a crack that needed to be repaired that goes completely through the base of the pool,” Malone said. “For right now, they are starting to do some ground penetrating radar to make sure that the integrity of the pool and the underneath of the pool [are] still in shape.”

Both the men’s and women’s swim teams are currently in the middle of their seasons and are currently preparing for the upcoming NESCAC meet, according to Adam Hoyt, the head coach of the men’s swimming team. The pool’s closure has forced the swim teams to relocate their daily training to alternative facilities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge and the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Hoyt said.

“We are going to be waking up early a lot and going to bed late a lot because our practice times are six o’clock to 7:30 so we’re going to be leaving Tufts around 5:30 in the morning,” men’s team senior tri-captain Austin Wood said. “There is another option

we can go from 9-11 p.m. at MIT.”

Wood said the change in training times to the early morning and late evening hours will impact students’ sleep and homework schedules.

“We are not going to have time to do our homework at night if we’re getting back at 11 o’clock, so we have to do it during the day,” he said. “Being told we have to rearrange our schedule to sleep is a speed bump for sure.”

However, both coaches and swimmers remain optimistic that the inconvenient situation will only make their teams stronger.

“The best thing we can do right now is keep everybody’s attitudes up,” Wood said. “It would be really easy to let this get us down and impact our performance, but I think if we suffer through it together, and take it as a challenge and overcome it, we’ll have even better results.”

Hoyt said that he and Nancy Bigelow, the women’s swimming team’s head coach, are optimistic despite the circumstances and have great teams. 

“While its inconvenient timing for everyone, hopefully our teams will rise to the occasion and overcome these challenges,” he said. “It’s just a time management thing and so far everyone has a great attitude toward it.”

According to Wood, there are typically four different practices each day and swimmers can choose which practices to attend

The alternative facilities will allow the teams to train together, Hoyt said.

“One of the great parts of our training trip — when we go away over winter break — is that we actually train together as a team,” Hoyt said. “These two training opportunities are going to provide us the ability to train together as a team which is hugely helpful.”

The quality of the alternative facilities is another positive aspect of the situation, according to Hoyt.

“From a training standpoint, if anything, it’s a better training situation,” Hoyt said. “MIT is a much newer facility than the Tufts pool, a much better facility in a lot of ways in regards to their pool so we’re in a great position to get great training in.”

The remaining meets will be held at alternative facilities so seniors will be unable to swim in a final senior meet, according to Wood.

“For the seniors, it is probably most upsetting because we are missing our senior meet at home,” Wood said. “I’m on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and I’m hoping to do something where we can get a fan bus out to Wheaton to celebrate our senior meet.”

The impact of the pool’s closure is not limited to just the swim teams, Malone said. Students who hold lifeguarding positions at the pool and faculty who regularly use the pool to swim will also be inconvenienced by the emergency maintenance. 

According to Malone, the athletic department will work to find other positions for lifeguards receiving work-study money. 

“We are going to find other work around the athletic department for the lifeguards that were work-study students,” Malone said. “Between the athletic offices, the fitness center and the equipment room, we will be able to allow them to pick up a majority of their shifts.”

Malone said that the university administration is fully supportive of fixing the pool’s current problems. He explained that, while there is a desire to put in a new pool, the current issues will not necessitate one’s immediate construction.  

“[University President Anthony Monaco] is an avid swimmer and uses the pool daily,” Malone said. “He’s put his full support behind it and wants to see the problem get fixed as quickly as we can without compromising the integrity of the pool and the structure below the pool. There’s a need and desire to put in a new pool, but the issue here is not something that’s going to make them break ground on a new pool immediately.”

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